National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often delights space enthusiasts with updates on the latest discoveries related to galaxies, stars, and planets within our solar system. It also shares captivating images captured by its spacecraft. Now, in its most recent post, the US space agency dropped a photograph of a “dumpling shape” object spotted in outer space and asked netizens what they think is shown in the image.
“Ravioli, pierogi, empanada… What do you see? No wrong answers,” NASA wrote in the caption.
Take a look below:
Turns out, the object captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is the innermost moon of Saturn called Pan. NASA explained that the two images were taken from different perspectives. While the image on the left appears to be taken from above the moon, the image on the right seems to be taken from below it. “The moon has a flat ridge around its midpoint, and lines that look like they were scraped across its surface,” read the description.
Further, NASA explained that Pan is the innermost of Saturn’s known moons. It orbits the planet from inside a gap in one of Saturn’s rings. “It completes an orbit every 13.8 hours at an altitude of 83,000 miles (134,000 km),” the space agency said, adding “The ridge around Pan’s equator is similar to Saturn’s moon Atlas, and gives the moon its distinctive dumpling shape”.
Since being shared, the post has accumulated more than 273,000 likes and several comments. “A macaron with the cream squishing out,” joked one Instagram user. “That’s tortellini,” said another.
“Frying pan and pancake,” wrote a third. “It is A covert interstellar starship shaped like A Walnut saucer created by evolved Squirlians from A parallel dimension,” added another.
Meanwhile, according to the space agency, Pan was first discovered by MR Showalter in 1990 using the images taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. These recent images of Pan were captured by the Cassini spacecraft while passing within 24,600 km of the moon. It is also the spacecraft’s closest encounter with Pan, NASA said.